The illegal cannabis market has always existed, but with the advent of technology and social media, it has become easier for dealers and buyers to connect. One popular platform for this underground trade is Telegram, a messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption and the ability to create private groups.
While the use and possession of cannabis is still illegal in many countries, the decriminalisation and legalisation of the drug in some jurisdictions has led to a reduction in arrests and incarceration. However, this has also led to an increase in the underground market, as some individuals continue to sell cannabis despite the legal changes.
The Telegram app has become a popular platform for this illegal trade, as it allows for private communication and the creation of groups where buyers and sellers can connect. These groups can range in size, with some having only a few members, while others have thousands. They often use code words and emojis to avoid detection by law enforcement. This has led to concerns about the potential harms associated with unregulated cannabis sales, including the sale of potentially dangerous or contaminated products.
Despite these concerns, it seems that the Telegram cannabis market is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the number of Telegram cannabis channels and groups has been on the rise in recent months, with many reporting an increase in sales especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the underground market may seem like a convenient way to access cannabis, it is important to remember that it is illegal and there are risks involved. Dealers and buyers should be aware of the potential dangers and take measures to protect themselves.
Tips for dealers:
- Use encrypted messaging apps: Telegram is a popular platform for buying and selling cannabis, but it is not the only one. Other apps such as Signal and Wickr offer end-to-end encryption, which makes it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to intercept and read your messages.
- Use a VPN: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can help to mask your IP address and make it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to track your location.
- Be careful with the information you share: Avoid sharing personal information such as your name, address, and phone number. This will make it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify you.
- Do not keep large amounts of cash or drugs on hand: This will reduce the risk of losing large amounts of money or drugs in the event of a raid.
- Be mindful of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to leave quickly if necessary.
Tips for buyers:
- Be careful who you buy from: Not all dealers on Telegram are legitimate. Be sure to do your research and only buy from reputable dealers.
It's important to note that Law enforcement agencies have various resources and expertise to track down illegal activities on Telegram and other platforms. These include sophisticated data analysis tools, tracking of specific IP addresses, monitoring of specific Telegram groups, and even undercover operations. They also have the ability to demand data from the Telegram company to track down the users. Law enforcement agencies use a variety of data analysis tools to track down illegal activities on platforms such as Telegram. Here are a few examples:
- Data mining and data scraping: Agencies use specialised software to mine and scrape large amounts of data from Telegram and other platforms. This data can include usernames, messages, and other identifying information.
- Network analysis: Agencies use network analysis tools to map out the relationships between different Telegram users, which can help them identify key players in the illegal cannabis trade.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP tools allow agencies to analyse large amounts of text data, such as Telegram messages, in order to identify patterns and keywords that may be indicative of illegal activity.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning: Agencies use AI and machine learning to analyse large amounts of data and identifying patterns and anomalies.
- Geo-location tracking: Agencies can use geolocation tracking to track down dealers and buyers based on their IP address or device location.
- Social Media Monitoring: Law enforcement agencies use social media monitoring tools to track conversations, groups, and activities on social media platforms like Telegram.
While these tips can help to reduce the risk of detection, it's important to remember that buying and selling cannabis through Telegram is still illegal. If you do decide to participate in the underground market, you should always be aware of the risks involved and do everything you can to protect yourself.